The Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program supported the Kinawataka Women’s Initiative, a non-government organization that works to improve the quality of life of women in Kampala’s slums. Kinawataka received a Self Help grant in 2010 to enhance and expand production of handicrafts made from recycled drinking straws by providing tools, materials and training to over 50 low-income, women-led households, many of which are affected by HIV/AIDS. The organization leveraged the marketing experience of an established jewelry company to launch its unique line of bags, mats, and fashion accessories in a chain of Ugandan souvenir stores.
The objective of the grant was to expand the number of women and households who know the skill of straw weaving and thereby have the potential to increase their household incomes. To achieve this Benedicta, who founded Kinawataka and developed the weaving of plastic straws, has trained women living near the Hope Clinic Lukuli in Makindye Division.
The grant has been a great success with the women of Kinawataka expanding their group of weavers with the motivation of regular sales through Banana Boat stores and participation at various craft events around the city. In Lukuli over 50 women and hence their households have benefitted from a new skill and as a group they have completed their first order of mats for the International School of Uganda.
Having accounted for the grant, Kinawataka remains with the skills, the press sewing machine and the water system. They will replenish stocks of nylon webbing, cards and risers using income earned from recent sales.